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Deep Dive: Here are the 20 best performing stocks of March — and the 20 worst

(Updated with closing prices on March 31.)

Technology stocks dominated during March, with remarkable gains for a sector that tumbled last year. Meanwhile, two high-profile bank failures took their toll on the financial sector — but maybe that sector performed better than you expected.

Below are lists of the month’s best and worst performing stocks in the S&P 500
SPX,
followed by lists for the Nasdaq-100 Index
NDX
and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA.

First, take a look at how the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 fared for the month. Performance and forward price-to-earnings valuations for the broad indexes are below the sectors:

Index

March price change

2023 price change

2022 price change

Forward P/E

Forward P/E as of Dec. 30, 2022

Forward P/E as of Dec. 31, 2021

 Information Technology 

10.9%

21.5%

-28.9%

24.4

20.0

28.2

 Communication Services 

10.4%

20.2%

-40.4%

16.2

14.4

20.9

 Utilities 

4.6%

-4.0%

-1.4%

17.7

18.8

20.4

 Consumer Staples 

3.8%

0.2%

-3.2%

20.2

20.6

21.4

 Consumer Discretionary 

3.0%

15.8%

-37.6%

25.2

21.5

34.2

 Health Care 

2.1%

-4.7%

-3.6%

17.1

17.7

17.2

 Industrials 

0.6%

3.0%

-7.1%

18.5

18.4

21.2

 Energy 

-0.5%

-5.6%

59.0%

10.2

9.8

11.1

 Materials 

-1.3%

3.8%

-14.1%

16.5

15.7

16.6

 Real Estate

-2.1%

1.0%

-28.4%

17.0

17.1

25.3

 Financials 

-9.7%

-6.0%

-12.4%

12.4

12.9

16.1

S&P 500

3.5%

7.0%

-19.4%

17.9

16.8

21.5

Dow Jones Industrial Average

1.9%

0.4%

-8.8%

16.7

16.6

18.9

Nasdaq Composite Index

6.7%

16.8%

-33.1%

26.0

22.4

31.6

Nasdaq-100 Index

9.5%

20.5%

-33.0%

25.0

21.0

30.6

Source: FactSet

All price changes in this article exclude dividends.

The IT sector has seen a considerable rebound this year, accelerating in March. The communications Services sector has trailed closely.

Sector placement can be confusing for some companies when considering how they are perceived by investors. Both Meta Platforms Inc.
META
and Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
are in the communications sector. Both are among the best performers in the S&P 500 during March, listed below.

Read: What tech bust? Big Tech stocks gained $2 trillion in roaring start to 2023

Despite such a strong showing for the benchmark index, only 261 stocks in the S&P 500 rose during March. This reflects the index’s weighting by market capitalization.

Here are the 20 stocks in the S&P 500 that performed best for the month:

Company

Ticker

March price change

2023 price change

2022 price change

Forward P/E

Forward P/E as of Dec. 31

Intel Corp.

INTC

31.0%

23.6%

-48.7%

40.0

14.6

First Solar Inc.

FSLR

28.6%

45.2%

71.9%

26.3

29.4

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

AMD

24.7%

51.3%

-55.0%

28.9

17.8

Salesforce Inc.

CRM

22.1%

50.7%

-47.8%

26.5

23.7

Meta Platforms Inc. Class A

META

21.2%

76.1%

-64.2%

19.6

14.7

Arista Networks Inc.

ANET

21.0%

38.3%

-15.6%

27.2

22.3

Nvidia Corp.

NVDA

19.6%

90.1%

-50.3%

57.9

34.4

Adobe Inc.

ADBE

19.0%

14.5%

-40.7%

23.6

21.8

Illumina Inc.

ILMN

16.7%

15.0%

-46.9%

121.1

66.0

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT

16.0%

20.6%

-28.7%

27.2

23.1

Insulet Corp.

PODD

15.4%

8.3%

10.6%

213.1

260.4

Alphabet Inc. Class A

GOOGL

15.2%

17.6%

-39.1%

18.7

16.9

MarketAxess Holdings Inc.

MKTX

14.6%

40.3%

-32.2%

48.0

37.1

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

CMG

14.5%

23.1%

-20.6%

37.8

32.3

Kroger Co.

KR

14.4%

10.7%

-1.5%

10.9

10.6

Cooper Cos. Inc.

COO

14.2%

12.9%

-21.1%

27.2

25.6

General Electric Co.

GE

12.9%

14.1%

-11.3%

38.6

16.2

FedEx Corp.

FDX

12.4%

31.9%

-33.0%

12.8

11.2

Newmont Corp.

NEM

12.4%

3.9%

-23.9%

21.5

24.9

Activision Blizzard Inc.

ATVI

12.2%

11.8%

15.1%

21.6

19.6

Source: FactSet

Click on the tickers for more about each company.

Read Tomi Kilgore’s detailed guide to the wealth of information available for free on the MarketWatch quote page.

Intel Corp.
INTC
was the best performer among the S&P 500 in March. A long-term chart for the stock is below the Nasdaq-100 list further down.

Here are the worst 20 performers in the benchmark index in March, mainly reflecting investors’ concerns about regional banks:

Company

Ticker

March price change

2023 price change

2022 price change

Forward P/E

Forward P/E as of Dec. 31

First Republic Bank

FRC

-88.6%

-88.5%

-41.0%

4.1

17.1

Zions Bancorporation N.A.

ZION

-40.9%

-39.1%

-22.2%

4.8

7.3

Comerica Inc.

CMA

-38.1%

-35.1%

-23.2%

4.7

6.6

Charles Schwab Corp

SCHW

-32.8%

-37.1%

-1.0%

12.5

17.1

KeyCorp

KEY

-31.5%

-28.1%

-24.7%

6.1

7.5

Lincoln National Corp

LNC

-29.2%

-26.9%

-55.0%

2.5

3.4

Truist Financial Corp.

TFC

-27.4%

-20.8%

-26.5%

6.9

8.2

Citizens Financial Group Inc.

CFG

-27.3%

-22.9%

-16.7%

6.2

7.7

Huntington Bancshares Inc.

HBAN

-26.9%

-20.6%

-8.6%

7.4

9.0

Fifth Third Bancorp

FITB

-26.6%

-18.8%

-24.7%

7.0

8.2

U.S. Bancorp

USB

-24.5%

-17.3%

-22.4%

7.1

8.6

M&T Bank Corp.

MTB

-23.0%

-17.6%

-5.5%

6.8

7.7

Regions Financial Corp.

RF

-20.4%

-13.9%

-1.1%

7.3

8.6

Wells Fargo & Co.

WFC

-20.1%

-9.5%

-13.9%

7.7

8.0

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

PNC

-19.5%

-19.5%

-21.2%

8.6

9.8

MetLife Inc.

MET

-19.2%

-19.9%

15.8%

6.7

8.7

Synchrony Financial

SYF

-18.6%

-11.5%

-29.2%

5.5

6.4

Dish Network Corp. Class A

DISH

-18.2%

-33.5%

-56.7%

8.0

8.6

American International Group Inc.

AIG

-17.6%

-20.4%

11.2%

7.6

10.0

Boston Properties Inc.

BXP

-17.3%

-19.9%

-41.3%

24.1

31.3

Source: FactSet

First Republic Bank
FRC
of San Francisco was the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 for March because of deposit outflow in the wake of similar trouble that caused the failures of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10 and the failure of Signature Bank of New York on March 12.

Read: Here’s how First Republic Bank’s tailspin started and why it hasn’t stopped.

And: How the FDIC has set a ‘baseline’ for troubled commercial real estate

One reason the financial sector declined “only” 9.7% in March was the reclassification of sectors by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Visa Inc.
V,
Mastercard Inc.
MA
and PayPal Holdings Inc.
PYPL
all moved to the financials sector from the tech sector and were up for the month. Two other large components of the financial sector — Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
BRK
and S&P Global Inc.
SPGI
— rose during March. The five companies together have a combined market cap of $1.41 trillion, or 31% of the sector’s $4.57 trillion market cap.

Nasdaq-100

The Nasdaq-100 index is made up of the largest 100 nonfinancial companies in the full Nasaq Composite Index
COMP,
by market cap. Here are the 10 components of the index that performed the best during March:

Company

Ticker

March price change

2023 price change

2022 price change

Forward P/E

Forward P/E as of Dec. 31

Intel Corp.

INTC

31.0%

23.6%

-48.7%

40.0

14.6

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

AMD

24.7%

51.3%

-55.0%

28.9

17.8

Meta Platforms Inc. Class A

META

21.2%

76.1%

-64.2%

19.6

14.7

Nvidia Corp.

NVDA

19.6%

90.1%

-50.3%

57.9

34.4

Adobe Inc.

ADBE

19.0%

14.5%

-40.7%

23.6

21.8

Lululemon Athletica Inc.

LULU

17.8%

13.7%

-18.2%

30.3

28.3

Illumina Inc.

ILMN

16.7%

15.0%

-46.9%

121.1

66.0

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT

15.6%

20.2%

-28.7%

27.2

23.1

Alphabet Inc. Class A

GOOGL

15.2%

17.6%

-39.1%

18.7

16.9

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. Class A

CRWD

13.7%

30.4%

-48.6%

54.1

54.2

Source: FactSet

To put Intel’s 2003 surge into perspective, here’s a 10-year price chart for the stock:

Intel’s stock has surged 24% in 2023 following a 49% decline last year.

FactSet

Read: Intel’s stock set for best month in 22 years as execs lay out plans to take on AMD’s rise in servers

The Dow 30

Here’s how all 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average performed in March:

Company

Ticker

March price change

2023 price change

2022 price change

Forward P/E

Forward P/E as of Dec. 31

Intel Corp.

INTC

31.0%

23.6%

-48.7%

40.0

14.6

Salesforce Inc.

CRM

22.1%

50.7%

-47.8%

26.5

23.7

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT

15.6%

20.2%

-28.7%

27.2

23.1

Apple Inc.

AAPL

11.9%

26.9%

-26.8%

25.8

20.5

Procter & Gamble Co.

PG

8.1%

-1.9%

-7.3%

23.8

25.2

Cisco Systems Inc.

CSCO

8.0%

9.7%

-24.8%

13.0

13.0

McDonald’s Corp.

MCD

5.9%

6.1%

-1.7%

25.6

25.1

Boeing Co.

BA

5.4%

11.5%

-5.4%

146.4

53.7

Amgen Inc.

AMGN

4.4%

-8.0%

16.7%

13.2

14.2

Coca-Cola Co.

KO

4.2%

-2.5%

7.4%

23.4

25.2

Walmart Inc.

WMT

3.7%

4.0%

-2.0%

23.4

21.7

Nike Inc. Class B

NKE

3.2%

4.8%

-29.8%

30.9

32.6

Visa Inc. Class A

V

2.5%

8.5%

-4.1%

24.5

24.1

Chevron Corp.

CVX

1.5%

-9.1%

53.0%

10.8

10.9

International Business Machines Corp.

IBM

1.4%

-7.0%

5.4%

13.4

14.7

Johnson & Johnson

JNJ

1.1%

-12.3%

3.3%

14.5

17.0

Walt Disney Co.

DIS

0.5%

15.3%

-43.9%

20.4

19.5

Verizon Communications Inc.

VZ

0.2%

-1.3%

-24.2%

8.2

7.9

Merck & Co. Inc.

MRK

0.1%

-4.1%

44.8%

14.5

14.8

Honeywell International Inc.

HON

-0.2%

-10.8%

2.8%

20.3

23.3

Home Depot Inc.

HD

-0.5%

-6.6%

-23.9%

17.8

18.7

UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UNH

-0.7%

-10.9%

5.6%

18.2

21.3

3M Co.

MMM

-2.4%

-12.3%

-32.5%

11.6

11.5

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

WBA

-2.7%

-7.4%

-28.4%

7.4

8.1

Dow Inc.

DOW

-4.2%

8.8%

-11.2%

14.9

11.5

Caterpillar Inc.

CAT

-4.5%

-4.5%

15.9%

13.9

15.7

American Express Co.

AXP

-5.2%

11.6%

-9.7%

14.1

13.7

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

GS

-7.0%

-4.7%

-10.2%

9.0

9.2

Travelers Cos. Inc.

TRV

-7.4%

-8.6%

19.9%

11.4

12.8

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM

-9.1%

-2.8%

-15.3%

9.8

10.4

Source: FactSet

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